I’ve always loved fantasy. From fairytales and books to movies and TV series, I have always been drawn to the fantastical. To alternate universes. To magic.
There’s something so exciting about slipping into another world, a world filled with possibility.
I’ve always loved fantasy. I still do.
But I have never really believed in it.
Well, that’s not quite true. When I lost my first tooth I swore that I saw the tooth fairy land on my pillow. She was so tiny, I had no idea how she managed to carry the big coin I found under my pillow the next morning. Even at the age of 5 I questioned the mechanics, and imagined a coin carrying device that was just out of my sightline. But still, I stuck to my story. I saw the tooth fairy and no, she was not a bug.
So maybe a small part of me does believe in magic. Or wants to at least.
Maybe that’s what draws me to the genre. A faint hope, or desire to hope, that maybe, somewhere, there is something different. Something more.
But the majority of me lives firmly within the world of ‘reason’. I believe in what I see. What I can understand. I struggle to look beyond that and I generally prefer not to.
There is so much information available in the world today. If I’m wondering about something, I can simply type it into google and get pages upon pages of answers.
It makes me feel confident. It makes me feel powerful.
But that was all challenged this past week.
This past week, I was told by a doctor that he could not offer a single suggestion for what to do about my steadily worsening medical condition. He said he didn’t believe that in 2014 the tools to understand my medical difficulties exist.
It startled me.
In the past, I have been told that my condition must be caused by my weight despite symptoms not improving with weight loss, linked to anxiety despite being assessed with an opposing conclusion and any number of, for lack of a better word, ‘cop-outs’.
These doctors have not known or understood what was happening within my body, and so they latched on to an explanation, any explanation.
But still, they always had something to offer.
This was the first time that I had been told by a medical professional, directly, that there was nothing he could do for me.
Of course, he might be wrong.
After all, it’s not like he searched all that hard. I only saw him twice, briefly, when he popped in to confer with the Resident examining me.
But he must have believed in what he was saying. He felt sorry for me, and sympathized with the position I was in, the frustration I must be feeling. But he did not believe that there was anything that could be done about it.
As he spoke, a tiny voice in my head whispered - what if he’s right?
In that simple question, a bit of my world crumbled around me.
I am so used to answers, to explanations. I expect them, even when they’re hard to find. I cling to them, even when they’re wrong. They are the ultimate goal in any question I may have.
The possibility that I am living with something unknown is frustrating. The possibility that I am living with something that cannot be known is overwhelming.
After the appointment, I spent a few hours trying to process, to come up with a plan, to figure out what to do next.
At first, I felt paralysed. I had no idea where to look, what I was even looking for.
Gradually though, my thoughts cleared up.
First of all, this was one man’s opinion. There are many other doctors, many other tests to be run, theories to hatch and rule out.
But regardless of that, does it really matter?
We like to think that we have answers. At least I do. But there is always an element of uncertainty, even if we choose to ignore it.
After all, the state of pregnancy has never been a mystery to diagnose, yet well into the 20th century women were encouraged to drink alcohol as a cure for morning sickness and fortification for labour. Next it was deemed dangerous and potentially harmful, and today there are studies challenging even that.
It’s nice to think that there is a reason, an explanation. It makes the world more comfortable, to feel that there are no dark corners.
But really, this world is full of mysteries. And all that we can do is keep track of them and try our best to adjust to them. Try our best to live with them.
The unknown can be scary. It is hard, or rather impossible to make sense of.
And so we avoid the dark, and flood our streets with light.
Still, I think it’s important to remember that dark corners can be full of possibility, Of potential.
A bit of my world crumbled this week.
But it’s kind of nice to get a glimpse of the sky.